Finding your passion

I noticed this morning that my LinkedIn contact Elan Divon has launched a website for his new initiative, The Initiation, aimed at helping people find their passion and achieve their potential.

In the site’s “my story” section, Divon writes of his own circuitous journey. He left a promising career to return to school, but changed schools and academic direction after a year, and ended up delving into the subject of personal transformation, becoming an author and motivational speaker.

There’s a lot to read on his website, and I can relate to much of it, especially now that I’m in transition after being downsized.

I wasn’t looking to leave my job as a reporter at The Canadian Jewish News this year – I loved working there – but I find I get a charge out of the writing I’m doing for my blog and, little by little, from seeing my book-to-be develop.

Years ago, when I was in university, I didn’t hear much talk about following your passion. It seemed decisions were based more on practical concerns – what subjects students did well at, what fields offered the best career opportunities. Some of my friends who didn’t know what they wanted to do ended up studying law, because there were no prerequisite courses. It was a good decision for some of them, and I wondered for a long time if I should have done the same thing.

My parents encouraged me to study what I liked, although I wasn’t convinced it was the best advice at the time. I loved languages and was intrigued by psychology, but statistics – a requirement for majoring in psychology – turned out to be my nemesis, so I ended up majoring in French.

Eventually, I came to writing and journalism via a job at a large insurance company, where I worked in the department that published a monthly newspaper for employees.

After I was downsized this year, one of my first thoughts was that it would be a good time for me to work seriously on the book that – I don’t know how else to describe it – started writing itself in my head a few years ago.

Not long after that, I began to think about blogging, in part as a way to keep writing, and in part to work through the post-downsizing process. A friend told me to write about what I like, so in addition to writing twice a week about writing and journalism, I also started writing about food. In August, I added a fourth day, when I write about chocolate.

A funny thing happened when I began writing about food. People who’ve known me for a long time said they didn’t know I was a foodie, or even that I liked food so much. Lately, people have started asking me for information and advice, and sharing thoughts about food and cooking. I’m enjoying it a lot.

I don’t know at this point where it will lead, but I have some ideas to take it further, although I haven’t ruled out a conventional job, and I’m still working on the book. I’m relying on instinct, and hopefully a bit of serendipity, on my post-downsizing journey.